Alba was founded in 1989 under the parent company of Avalon Natural Products. Avalon has created their product lines (Alba Botanica, Unpetroleum, and Avalon Organics) based on what they call the “Five Elements of Consciousness.”
The first element is purity and safety. Alba Botanica products contain no parabens, chemical preservatives that increase a product’s shelf life, which can be found in most commercially available lotions, creams, conditioners, shampoos, and even baby lotion.
According to searchforthecause.org, an organization that investigates how exposures in our daily lives increase the risk of cancer, states the health issues with parabens, including methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl, “May alter hormone levels, possibly increasing risks for certain types of cancer, impaired fertility, or alteration of the development of a fetus or young child. May cause skin irritation, rash or allergic skin reactions; studies have found parabens in breast tumors.”
Even though they use the word “may,” why take a chance? If someone served you up a dish at a restaurant that “may” make you sick down the road, would you eat it? I guess people do that every day with fast food. Nevermind.
Avalon only uses ingredients that can safely be absorbed into the skin. They exclude all formaldehyde releasers, toxic preservatives, skin irritants, and petroleum products (including mineral oil).
Unfortunately, due to a loophole in FDA regulations (a federal agency that has failed to protect U.S. consumers in the past), any dangerous chemicals existing in the all-too-common listing, “fragrance,” need not be included on the ingredient labels of products. However, all fragrances Alba uses are natural.
Therefore, products like the Jasmine & Vitamin E Moisture Cream ($16.95) smell divine, naturally. What’s more, all Alba ingredients are compliant with the EU Cosmetics Directive, which has banned over 1,300 ingredients that are proven or suspected to be hazardous.
The second element is sustainability.
Alba Botanica and Avalon Natural Products use certified organic oils and botanicals not only because they are good for your body, but because purchasing these products will only increase the acreage being used for sustainable, organic farming and in turn support organic agriculture.
Avalon also belongs to the Organic Trade Association’s Personal Care Task Force (www.ota.com/PersonalCareFact.html), a group of personal care manufacturers and retailers that are working towards higher standards in organic labeling. Continuing the mission to reduce their carbon footprint, Avalon’s office and warehouse are 100% solar powered, and they also embrace multiple forms of recycling within their practice.
The third element is providing products that work.
Alba’s goal, in addition to using all natural and organic ingredients, is to create a product that truly serves its purpose. It’s one thing to purchase a product because it is great for the environment, but quite another if it smells like hippies and doesn’t even work.
Alba Botanica products deliver on this goal. The Replenishing Body Lotion from the Ceranade line ($24.95) is formulated for very dry, reactive skin (á la moi), and knocked out my borderline eczema outbreak in 24 hours. Bonus: It didn’t smell horrible or feel excessively greasy. This lotion contains an emulsion that replenishes the lipids underneath the external skin layer, without using any nasty synthetic ingredients.
The fourth element is sensuality. In creating products with gentle, appealing scents and quality moisture and cleansing properties, Alba is determined to return you to the joyful process of bathing and grooming.
Sea Lettuce Cleansing Milk ($9.95), part of the Advanced Skin Care line, utilizes almond oil, sea lettuce, marine compounds, and shea butter to create a gentle yet effective facial cleanser infused with an aromatherapy scent, while the Bath and Shower Gel ($8.95) cleanses and makes glorious bath bubbles with a gentle scent.
Personal choice is the fifth element, which is integrated by unfalteringly refusing to test their products on animals or use animal-based products in any of their products. I don’t know about you, but knowing that I am not spreading pig lips or cow tails all over my body after I bathe is pretty reassuring.
They are also available for a great price, considering many natural, organic products can charge an arm and a leg for preservative-free skin care products.
Alba Botanica products can be found at Wild Oats, Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, and online at www.albabotanica.com.